Recommendation: A mindless, loud, action-packed visual feast will turn off more than it’ll delight. 3.5/10.
IMDB Synopsis: Meet a new kind of action hero. Six untraceable agents, totally off the grid. They’ve buried their pasts so they can change the future.
6 Underground, the latest big-budget action flick from Netflix with a huge star attached (a la 2017’s Bright) is… a lot. Bombastic, frenetic, and adrenaline fueled, the studio-shackles have been taken off of Director Michael Bay, who is best known for large productions, larger explosions and incredibly stylized scenes. With what seems like a blank check and zero oversight, Bay has created what can be described as a mashup between Fast & Furious, Oceans 11, and a Call of Duty, which leads to varying degrees of success.
Fed up with the red tape of government and aid organizations, Billionaire tech genius “One” (Ryan Reynolds) decides that the best way to get shit done is to recruit specialized agents, fake their deaths, and form his own Seal Team 6. Thin characters are sketched with vague skill sets that dubiously add up to a team that’s supposedly greater than the sum of its parts. There’s Two (Melanie St. Laurent), an ex-CIA agent with deadly gunplay; Three (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), a cartel hitman; Four (Ben Hardy), an Brit adrenaline junkie with a penchant for parkour; Five (Adria Arjuna), a super beautiful, young doctor—who doesn’t get a backstory; and Seven (Corey Hawkins), an ex-Delta sniper. Don’t worry about Six (Dave Franco). A thin subplot of the team coming together (Fast & Furious anyone?) barely registers between action set pieces… but who cares! Literally 15 cars flip and explode in the first 17 minutes.
The team’s goal is to rid the world of truly evil people. No politicking, no governments, no holds barred. In the first mission (surely there will be sequels), the team hopes to take out an evil dictator and install his brother via a coup. What they lack in teamwork (and the movie lacks in plot, writing or character development), they more than make up for in causing as much mayhem as possible. If Zero Dark Thirty is a precision operation, 6 Underground is a bull in a china shop. The movie hits 100 right away and doesn’t let up for two+ hours as it assaults your senses with all the Bay staples: Big explosions, fast cars, faster women, incredible choreography, and absolutely zero sense.
You can’t help but admire the sheer scale of the production; no one does action quite like Bay. With barely a moment to breathe, 6 Underground makes clear that it’s here to entertain from the jump, not letting up for a second so Netflix viewers won’t even have a chance to second screen. If you want a two hour id-driven assault on the senses, you could do worse than 6 Underground. But if you can’t fully turn off to embrace the ridiculousness that it is, turn on The Two Popes for a real thrill ride with a message.
MVP: Melanie St. Laurent as Two, a cold hearted, unfeeling ex-CIA spook.
Highlights: They certainly didn’t skimp on the budget. They gave Michael Bay all the money for all the explosions and helicopters. Ryan Reynolds is funny, as usual.
Director: Michael Bay
Studio: Netflix // Original release date: December 13, 2019